Driving a car comes with a lot of little annoyances that most people simply deal with. That’s just how things are, right?
Not necessarily. Sometimes there’s an elegant solution to those things that vex you day after day, but you might never think of it on your own.
And the best part? No expensive gadgets or technical skill required.
Here are several simple tricks that can improve your ride without costing much in time or money.
1. Restore hazy headlights
You can brighten your car’s smile with a little brushing and rinsing. Whitening toothpaste can get rid of yellow stains and that dull, fogged-up look that happens to headlights over time. Skip the toothbrush, though; a rag is effective and much quicker.
2. Prevent stuff from falling between the seats
If you’ve never dropped your ringing phone into the gap between your seat and the center console, count yourself lucky. It inevitably slides into the deepest recesses beneath your seat and requires getting on your hands and knees to retrieve.
The same thing can happen with your keys. Or your credit card. Or anything else that might fit in that stupid gap too small for your hand to curl under but big enough to be a nuisance.
Never again. Easy fix: Grab a piece of foam insulation for a couple of bucks, cut it to length, and wedge it in there.
3. Stop cup holders from getting sticky
Baked any sweet treats lately? If not, you should — and while they’re baking, take a couple of those baking cups out to your car and drop them in your cupholders. They will collect debris and drink drips and can be easily replaced once dirty.
Then go eat a cupcake and feel like a genius.
4. Use carabiners to hang things
The humble carabiner — the little metal clip used for keychains, hiking and rock climbing — is also a great accessory for your car. Clip it to the pole of the passenger headrest and you now have a hook in easy reach for your umbrella, reusable grocery bags or purse.
5. Install a trash can
If you’re always accruing random receipts and snack wrappers in your car, why not add a tiny trash can? Those reusable cereal containers are a good size and shape. If it makes sense, mount it to the floor with velcro.
6. Keep bungee cords in the trunk
At some point, you’ve probably driven behind a vehicle with something too big for the trunk — a large box, piece of furniture, or bike — sticking out but secured by bungee cords or heavy-duty straps.
They’re not just useful when you’re moving house. Look around your trunk, and you’ll likely find a few holes or hooks you can attach them to. Use those to stop groceries and other things from sliding around and getting turned over, or maybe even to hold a roll of paper towels.